Effects of Air Pollution on Human HealthPosted on 15th January 2020
By now, you are most likely aware of the effects of air pollution on human health.
Published on the 13th August 2019, a new study has discovered that exposure to ozone pollution can increase an individual’s risk of lung disease by as much as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, for example.
The increase in the risk of emphysema could be equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 29 years, with an increase in ozone exposure of just 3ppb over the course of 10 years.
In conjunction with this, the study found that levels were increasing by roughly that amount in some major cities. This increase is caused largely by climate change and is linked to the rise in global temperatures.
The 18-year study examined the lives of over 7,000 people in 6 major metropolitan areas across the US, including Chicago, Winston-Salem, Baltimore, Los Angeles, St. Paul and New York.
Increases in emphysema were examined by using CT scans and lung function tests. While levels of most air pollutants were found to have fallen across the 18-year period thanks to initiatives to reduce them, levels of ozone were found to be increasing.
Ozone is created when sunlight reacts with pollutants from fossil fuels and is the key ingredient in this study concerning lung disease. The study reinforces the understanding that ozone levels will continue to grow as global temperatures continue to rise.
The study has been highlighted by a number of health organisations, including the British Lung Foundation, who noted that the study contributed to the existing ‘stack of evidence’ that air pollution has a serious effect upon respiratory health.
Piling pressure on those in power, the British Lung Foundation has urged the UK government to comply with the existing World Health Organisation guidelines for particulate matter and to set out a clear action plan to meet them by 2030.
A further recent study has linked long-term ozone exposure to the development of heart diseases such as atherosclerosis.
Particulate pollution is created by exhaust from combustion engines but also from inadequately filtered and controlled industrial exhaust. Without the proper processes and scrubbing equipment in place, manufacturers stand to contribute to these growing health concerns.
It is vital for industrial proponents to take action to limit their polluting output. By taking action, they can help to mitigate these life-threatening health risks and to reduce the effects of air pollution on human health.
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